Yorkshire knew they might have to be patient in their pursuit of the 10 wickets on the last day that would take them back to the top of the County Championship and as Middlesex progressed by increasingly careful steps from 89 for two at lunch to 155 for four at tea there were plenty among a crowd of 2,600 at this most atmospheric of outgrounds who were beginning to wonder if this was an opportunity that was slipping away from Andrew Gale’s side.
They had seen the back of Chris Rogers, whose double hundred had powered Middlesex to the most improbable of wins at Lord’s in April.
A superb catch in the slips by Adam Lyth – one of seven he took in the match to go with his first innings century – had accounted for the Australian opener after a 116-ball 44. It needed more than one prized wicket, though, to break Middlesex’s resolve.
Steve Patterson, jubilant at inducing the edge that proved Rogers’ undoing, struck again with his next ball as Paul Stirling was leg before but then came another wait, stretching an hour and a half until tea and beyond as Eoin Morgan, as patient as he can be, was joined by John Simpson with their minds set now only on digging in, the chase for a target of 422 long since forgotten.
Yet though it took almost 30 overs for Yorkshire to prise them apart, once they did Middlesex subsided rather quickly, losing their last six wickets for 38 runs in the space of 14.2 overs, the victory completed with an hour to spare. The big breakthrough came in the fourth over after tea when Morgan, who had faced 137 balls and batted for two hours and 43 minutes, played back to a ball from Adil Rashid and tickled a thin edge to wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow.
Gale, free to apply as much pressure as he could muster with leaking runs not a concern, surrounded the batsmen with close fielders and Rashid, quickly able to apply his skills even though dry, turning wickets seem so rarely to come his way, struck three more times.
Ollie Rayner was caught at second slip sweeping, Tom Helm edged to second and Tim Murtagh was taken by Lyth running round from second slip to the leg slip position, the last one giving the leg-spinner the coup de grace to finish with four for 27.
Meanwhile at the other end, Jack Brooks, overshadowed by Ryan Sidebottom in the first innings, delivered his best spell of the match, inducing Toby Roland-Jones to edge to Bairstow and Simpson, finally, to guide one to third slip for a gallant 61. Brooks finished with three for 30 and Yorkshire return to the top of Division One, with a five-point lead.